Known for his lead roles in The Godfather Trilogy and Scarface, Al Pacino is considered one of the greatest actors of all time. His intense and explosive acting style has gained him recognition worldwide.
Throughout his acting career, he has received many awards and nominations for his work, including receiving an Academy Award, four Golden Globes, one BAFTA, two Tony Awards, and two Primetime Emmy Awards.
Additionally, he’s also received the Triple Crown of Acting, which not many actors can say is theirs. While Pacino has starred in over 70 films, here is our pick for his 10 best films in his five-decade career.
1. The Godfather Trilogy (1972, 1974, 1990)
The best of Al Pacino can be seen through his works in the Godfather Trilogy, with its movies at the top of the IMDb list, and considered the best films in cinema history. The films follow the Corleone family, headed by mafia lord Vito Corleone.
Al Pacino plays his youngest son, Michael Corleone, who becomes his successor, and transforms into a ruthless mafia boss. The film has numerous awards to its title, and put Pacino on the map, helping him land some of his other incredible roles.
If you haven’t watched The Godfather movies yet, you absolutely must!
2. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
After Sonny Wortzik’s attempt at a bank robbery goes wrong, the inexperienced criminal has a hostage situation in his hands. As they try to remain in control, media and FBI appearances build up the tension.
We slowly watch as Sonny’s motives are uncovered, and the real reason for the crime is revealed. We’re not going to tell you what it is, so you’re just going to have to watch one of the best Al Pacino movies to find out!
3. Serpico (1973)
Based on a true story, Serpico follows the story of City cop Frank Serpico, whose ideology against corruption causes him to be left out by his coworkers.
After his reports go ignored, Serpico decides to go public with his allegations of bribery and corruption, placing a target on his back.
It is considered as one of the best Al Pacino movies and director Sidney Lumet, as it tackles the concept of idealism versus police corruption.
4. Scarface (1983)
A remake of the 1932 film, Scarface is another crime drama that tells the story of Cuban refugee Tony Montana (acted by Al Pacino) as becomes a powerful drug lord after arriving in Miami penniless.
This film is a must-watch if you want to check out the best of Al Pacino because his portrayal of a sharp-minded and powerful criminal cannot be matched.
5. The Irishman (2019)
One of his more recent films, The Irishman follows Frank Sheeran, a truck driver in 1950’s Pennsylvania, as he gets involved with the Bufalino crime family.
Sheeran quickly climbs the ranks and falls in with Teamster Jimmy Hoffa (portrayed by Pacino) and his ties to organized crime.
Directed by Martin Scorsese, Al Pacino works alongside Robert De Niro, making this film one of the best of the decade!
6. Heat (1995)
If you’re looking for the best of Al Pacino, Heat is a movie you cannot miss!
Other than its phenomenal cast, its bank robbery scene is considered the best of all time, making it one of the greatest heist movies ever filmed.
We watch detective Lieutenant Hanna as he attempts to capture a seasonal criminal after he vows to pull off one last robbery without getting caught.
7. Scent of a Woman (1992)
Another one of the movies that make it to the best of Al Pacino is Scent of a Woman. We follow Charlie Simms, a teenager from a prestigious prep school who is looking to earn some money to visit his family for Christmas.
He accepts a position as a caregiver to a visually impaired retired lieutenant colonel, Frank Slade. Through a series of adventures and acrimonious fallouts, Frank and Charlie end up assisting each other navigate through life.
Al Pacino received both an Oscar and Golden Globe for portraying the cantankerous protagonist.
8. Insomnia (2002)
Directed by the acclaimed Christopher Nolan, Insomnia is a film about veteran police detective Will Dormer, as he travels to a small town in Alaska to uncover the murder of a teenage girl.
Events escalate, and he finds himself stuck in a dangerously threatening game of cat-and-mouse by the primary suspect. We’re looking at the story through the unreliable mind of the protagonist, allowing the film to raise questions in the audience throughout.
9. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
After an office of real estate salesmen receive news that only the top two employees will stay on at the firm by the end of the week, four salesmen team up to steal the leads.
Levene, Roma, Moss, and Aaronow worked together to sell undesirable real estate at inflated prices to make it to the top.
The film is considered a hit in the genre, with its incredible dialogue and unbeatable acting. It’s a must-watch for any Al Pacino fan!
10. The Insider (1999)
Our final film is The Insider, following the former head of a Tobacco Company as he exposes the truth about how tobacco companies function.
The story is a fictionalized account of the real-life events of Jeffrey Wigand, a whistleblower in the tobacco industry. It’s a vital film in cinema history and the perfect way to wrap up your Al Pacino experience!
And that’s a wrap! Al Pacino is known to be an incredible actor, with dozens of films to his name. However, these top films have been considered to not only be his greatest works but some of the most incredible films in history.
If you’re interested in getting into cinema, they are absolute must watches. Let us know in the comments which Al Pacino film is YOUR favorite!
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